Canal towns

By: Louk Vreeswijk

Sep 07 2014

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Category: Europe, Netherlands

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Focal Length:21.4mm
Shutter:1/0 sec

Amsterdam, the Venice of the North as it is sometimes called, isn’t the only city in Holland that can boast of its beautiful canals. Canals in historical cities like Alkmaar, Haarlem, Leiden, Delft and Utrecht definitely have got class as well. The canals in Utrecht are very special indeed, because they are different. They are a few meters below street level and have wharfs on both sides. The cellars of the canalside houses continue under the street in front and have direct access to the wharfs below. Alternatively one can go down to the wharfs by roadside staircases. When you sail down these canals, you are a whole floor level lower than the streets above, which makes that you experience the town in a completely different way. On a beautiful summer day, under the luxuriant green cover of the trees on either side of the canal, you imagine to be in a parallel world, even though you’re in the middle of town.

Oude Gracht

Here the houses are – exceptionally – built directly on the level of the canal, with a narrow pathway but no road in between. Even in the middle of the day silence reigns here, as on an early Sunday morning. The canals and wharfs of Utrecht are truly unique.

Photos of the week: Utrecht, Netherlands 2008

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